Friday, December 9, 2016

Appomattox, VA

Our things from Germany arrived safely and sort of in one piece last week!!  And just when I thought that I could finally begin to make this house that we hate our own, I get sick.  Really sick.  Strep throat, ear infection, something in my chest that hurt to take deep breaths in like there were a million tiny knives stabbing me every time I took a breath (the doctor never said what that was exactly), a migraine that lasted for 2 days and nights, a 102° temp... basically everything that makes a person sick all condensed into the top half of my body.  Eric took me to urgent care Sunday night where the doctor quickly put me on antibiotics, a steroid, and a little green pill that I have to take 4 times every day to put me out of my misery.  A few hours after my first dose of antibiotic my fever finally broke after a really terrible 48 straight hours, and I thought to myself: I might actually survive this!
It was a rough couple of days but I am slowly getting my energy back and am heading in the right direction.  I'm careful to stay on top of the Tylenol/Ibuprofen rotation since this sickness flared up my Stage IV Endometriosis (the worst of the worst), which is excruciating on it's own, but the inflammation caused by the infections flared my Endometriosis to a level that I'm worried may send me to the ER at some point - but hey, I might be having a difficult time standing up straight, but at least it doesn't hurt to breathe anymore! 

Before I got sick we were spending most of our time getting Isabelle settled into her new home and new school.  Isabelle is doing well and was able to literally pick up in Virginia where she left off in Germany school-wise, but her tender heart is aching for her friends at "home" in Germany right now.  She has been adamant about calling Kaiserslautern her hometown and spends every spare second she has texting her friends there.  Eric and I have been more lenient than usual with the amount of time we allow her to spend on her phone, but we know that she needs those text messages to help her get through a heartbreaking move across the ocean.  Eric and I decided as parents to stand back this time, monitor her phone usage over her shoulders, and pray that her heart heals with each text.  
But besides text messages, we have been trying to explore Virginia to help get all of our hearts adjusted to our new home.... even though it's been quiet on my blog lately.  There is so much to see here!  There is so much history, and it's been fun getting reacquainted with our American roots.  Fort Lee may leave a lot to be desired, our house sucks and we hate it, but Virginia is actually pretty awesome!  

Eric decided that Appomattox was the obvious next choice for our travels since we had already seen where the siege at Petersburg took place and Appomattox is where the Civil War ended only six days later.  Just like we had slowly branched out from our home in Germany, getting more comfortable with each kilometer, we are slowly branching out here too. 

The Appomattox Train Depot - the site of the Battle of Appomattox Station

Cute backdrop!

After the Siege of Petersburg, the end of the Civil War was imminent as the Union Army headed West to Appomattox - it was there that that General Robert E. Lee surrendered his 28,000 confederate troops six days after the siege. 

Appomattox itself is teeny, covering only 2.2 square miles with a population of a little more than 500 people.  It's a cute town!  One of those sweet all-American towns that makes you feel happy just walking down the street.  First, we went to the visitor center to get acquainted with the area and to get directions to the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, and were happily welcomed with a long table full of Christmas goodies!  For free(definitely not in Germany anymore)!  We weren't about to pass that up, so we filled our plates and then made our way to the Court House, stopping to take pictures along the way.

The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park is operated by the National Park Service and has been preserved exactly the way it stood the day that Robert E. Lee surrendered his troops on April 9, 1865.  We toured the court house first - the Park Ranger was sweet and explained the layout and then directed us upstairs to a small museum and a short film about the surrender, which was suuuuper helpful in helping Isabelle and I understand everything that had happened during that time.  And then we spent the rest of our afternoon walking around the park, all mid-1800's style.

The weather in Virginia has been a welcomed surprise for us - ranging from the 70's-50's since we got here, but on the day we went to Appomattox it was cold and windy, and I didn't dress appropriately.... per usual, since that's always the one part of the planning process that I suck at.  I didn't let it ruin my day though!  We had a blast, and I don't know why it surprised me so much, but there were a ton of tourists out touring the area just like we were!

The McLean House, the site of the surrender.

Whose wife hated that mustache?  His wife hated that mustache!

Our last stop before heading home was at the Museum of the Confederacy.  I'm still getting used to living in the South and seeing confederate flags all over the place.  I don't know how I'm supposed to feel about them, or even how I actually feel about them, but they're there.  Everywhere.  All over the place.  If I remember correctly, and I probably don't, but I think I have great-great-great uncles that fought and died for the confederacy, so even though I am Midwestern to my soul (and darn proud of it), I like feeling a connection to this part of our history, even if I don't like what the confederacy stood for.  

I didn't even bother taking pictures inside the museum because of my serious lack of indoor photography skills, but it was actually really cool!  I especially loved the pictures of the last known Civil War veterans taken in the early 1940's.

Now that I've gotten being sick out of the way, and now that all of our things have been delivered, a new washer & dryer purchased, and our car picked up from port, life is starting to get back to normal.  Until now, we honestly haven't had a whole lot of time to relax, let alone explore this new home of ours.  Life has been a whirlwind of errands to run and things to do to ensure an easy transition for Isabelle, but now it feels like I can actually sit and plan things out.  The list of things to do around here is endless and we plan to make the most of it for the short amount of time that we are here.  I can't be sure yet that anything will ever be as exciting as traveling Europe for 3 1/2 years, but I'm excited to at least give it a shot!  

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